About Cian Flynn

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So far Cian Flynn has created 6 blog entries.

Adventure Sligo set sail for Eden Awards

What a brilliant day Adventure Sligo had yesterday as the judges from Failte Ireland were welcomed to Sligo for this year’s EDEN Destination of Excellence Award. Members of the Adventure Sligo Network and the Wellness Network came together to treat the judges to a whirlwind mini-adventure tour of Sligo and on Lough Gill showcasing several activities and illustrating how enjoyable out of season adventure can be.

The judges Eoin, Irene and Jean were greeted by Blaithin Sweeney, your wellbeing warrior, Barry Hanigan, Northwest Adventure Tours and co-ordinator Marie Brouder, Brouder Marketing at the Riverside Hotel. The group commenced on a walking tour of Sligo arriving at Sligo Wellness Centre to meet Blaithin and hear about the combination of health and body at the wellness centre over their three floors from the organic café, treatments and the studio. Blaithin discussed her in-depth knowledge of community wellbeing.

‘Any genuine health and wellbeing offering has to start in the community first, the services, landscapes and amenities that are needed to provide for a community are the same services landscapes and amenities required to provide an exceptional experience to the visitor.’

– Blaithin Sweeney, Your Wellbeing Warrior

This was showcased yesterday by the broad range of presenters from Adventure Sligo, Wellbeing Network, Sligo Tidy Towns, Wellness Hub, Volunteer Centre to business elements from Sligo BID, Sligo Food Trail, Sligo Leader Partnership, Sligo Sports and Recreation Partnership and Sligo County Council.

The group proceeded on a perfect sun filled November day to set sail with Dave and Paddy from Wild West Sailing on Lough Gill and cruised to the magical Church Island. There, in the ruins for which the island is named, Blaithín led everyone in a peaceful meditation. By this time an appetite had been well worked up and Barry was a welcome sight with al fresco lunch ready and waiting in a beautiful island setting. It was a fabulous spread of organic soup with delicious homemade breads and hummous all from Sligo Wellness Centre and followed by locally roasted Carrow Coffee. The group then boarded a powerful RIB to whisk them back to mainland Sligo and reality.

Thank you to Louise Waters on Teeling Street, a member of Wellness Network for allowing us to use her new studio space for yesterday’s presentations to the judges and refreshments.

Thank you to all the presenters and everyone who worked so hard behind the scenes to make the day go so smoothly. A special thank you to Blaithin Sweeney, Auriel Robinson, John Graham, Gail McGibbon, Lucy Brennan, John Kielty, Cllr. Marie Casserly, Deirdre Kennedy, Hugh Myles and Val Robus for their enthusiastic and informative presentations on the day and also thank you to Marie Brouder, Aisling Kelly and Carolanne from Sweet Beat for the treats. Thank you to our members Eddie from Strandhill Surf Experience and Ursula from Island View Riding Stables for attending the presentation and Q & A.

It was a proud day for Adventure Sligo and to see all the levels of involvement and so much happening on our doorstep. The day allowed us to show the judges the range of exhilarating activities and necessary amenities on offer here in Sligo which can also contribute to and enhance people’s sense of well-being. We look forward to the results in the coming weeks.

By |2019-12-05T11:28:37+00:00December 4th, 2019|News|0 Comments

John & James MacDonald // Zero-to-Hero Day Skippers

What’s Your Background in terms of Sailing Experience?
My twin brother and I had some dinghy sailing experience before the 11 days total that we spent with Wild West Sailing. We had spent some small periods boating in our youth, but nothing significant.

What Problem Were You Trying to Solve?
We had a desire to learn to sail as being out on the ocean is one of our favorite things and one of the most calming experiences I find. My father always told me that one of the most important things that I should do in my life is, learn to sail. Our older brother is an old seadog and had requested that we upskill to be able to join him on some proper voyages. So, we decided that it was time to heed my father’s advice and learn to sail properly. However, when we do something, we like to do it right and whole-heartedly, which led us to Wild West Sailing :)

How Was The Problem Affecting You?
The main problem was lack of knowledge and skills in this area. This led to a lack of confidence and a hesitation to get properly stuck in.

What Possible Solutions Did You Consider before coming to Wild West Sailing?
Before coming to Wild West Sailing, we had read some books, watched videos online etc., but these yield limited progress, as there is always a significant difference between what obtained from utilizing such second-hand information, with what one gets from experiencing a thing first-hand.

Why Did You Choose Wild West Sailing?
When looking for somewhere to learn to sail properly, we did the usual googling. The Wild West Sailing website really hit the right note for us. It was well presented, clear, concise and had a nice level of integrated video media to set the scene. It also clearly conveys the level of the instructor and his passion for sailing very well. It really captures the dream well, if that is a good way to put it? :)

What Would Have Happened If You Had NOT chosen to progress your passion for sailing further with Wild West Sailing?
This is a great question, as, at that time, our interest was strong, but I would not say that we had an instilled inherent passion for sailing. However, the time we spent with Wild West Sailing was so truly amazing that without doubt, was a turning point, Dave took a strong interest, and converted it into what’s shaping up to be a life-long passion. If we had not chosen to progress with Wild West Sailing, things could have been very different. Small choices in life can certainly have profound affects :)

What Risks Did You Consider?
Before signing up for courses in sailing in general, we were concerned about the potential elitist nature of something like sailing and that the on-board experience would be formal and tense. Wild West Sailing was the absolute opposite to our delight :) Extremely friendly, approachable, informal, easy-going… The whole experience for sure, set us on the path we are on today with a real passion for sailing.

What Reservations Did You Have?
Really, our fears would have been related to being out of our depth and if the course turned out to be a formal and intense environment, this would have not been enjoyable and would have inevitably led to poor learning. This could also quench an aspiring interest in sailing as a whole.

What Measurable Benefits Have You Seen?
After the course, we have a true passion for sailing and a significant boost in confidence. On top of this important confidence boost, it gave us the knowledge and skills to be able to sail and manoeuvre a boat confidently. For sure, after the course, we are significantly better sailors and have an unquenchable passion for sailing. To be honest, as a direct result of the wonderful experience with Wild West Sailing, we are currently in the process of buying our very own racing yacht. So, I think it is fair to say that, on and above our time with Wild West Sailing being an utterly wonderful experience, it was a truly life-changing experience.

Did you have any fun?
We had great fun! Given that our initial reservations in taking a proper sailing course, were related to it maybe being formal, intense and not a lot of fun, it came as a massive surprise that it was the complete opposite while we learned the skills and knowledge to set us on a course for a life-long passion.

By |2019-12-04T16:27:43+00:00September 17th, 2019|Questionnaire, Reviews|0 Comments

Sophie Quagebeur // Competent Crew & Day Skipper All-in-One

What’s Your Background in terms of Sailing Experience?
My experience of sailing before the class was minimal:
I had an intro to sailing week camp when I was around 7 years old.
I later worked as a au pair for a family that spent a lot of time at a yacht club, I was sailing every once in a while but I was mostly hanging out around the boat yard.
I was a passenger on small sailing trip to Catalina Island in California and Corsica but I wasn’t responsible for anything. 

What Problem Were You Trying to Solve?
I was looking for tools and tips that would allow me to sail with confidence on my own boat someday so I can take vacation with the family and get them interested as well.
Important point that I wanted to address was getting a large sail boat in and out of a marina as well as parking maneuvers or driving in a crowded or tight places.
I wanted to learn to control my reaction in stressful situation, anticipating problems and solving them.

How Was The Problem Affecting You?
I considered those areas problems because it forced me to rely too much on the men or others sailing the boat to deal with that part.
I feel it was important I know how to sail and maneuvers the boat to not be a passive agent. I wanted to feel as competent- and confident as anyone else of the boat.

What Possible Solutions Did You Consider before coming to Wild West Sailing?
Before turning to Wild West Sailing I consider taking a week vacation/sailing course in Mexico where it’s closer to home and condition are more forgetful but I changed my mind because I feel it’s better to learn in changeable weather and “tougher conditioner so I am exposed to more possible problems. I was also interested in Ireland as a country and the sailing culture there. In the meantime I was looking at video on YouTube and downloading apps to get a familiar with what I was signing for and sailing vocabulary. David’s website seems to be more about sailing than just vacation like most website present themselves. 

Why Did You Choose Wild West Sailing?
I wanted to have a RYA certification and the website came up in the search, It seems the training was more in depth than the ASA certification, it had navigation course which I was very interested in. David’s resume was also very impressive. I wanted to combine a vacation and a learning experience with a certification at the end. There was no package on the website but David adjusted the schedule for us to make it happen. 

What Would Have Happened If You Had NOT chosen to progress your passion for sailing further with Wild West Sailing?
I think if I didn’t chose WWS and went with the ASA in Mexico I wouldn’t have not build enough confidence or learn about navigation. I still need more practice but WWS gave me the tool and the knowledge to perfect my sailing. I know now where to seek information. If I didn’t do the course it would have not open a new way of traveling and discovering places and island. WWS also gave me a new hobby and subject of interest; it’s nice to learn a skill that has nothing to do with work or productivity: one skill/knowledge to dive into purely for the fun of it and adventure. 

What Risks Did You Consider?
I had concern that most people had boat experience and were older men so it would be hard for me to fit. I didn’t want to be though as “not as capable”.

What Reservations Did You Have?
I was concern that I would be behind anyone when talking about specific term and doing boat manœuvres…

What Measurable Benefits Have You Seen?
The course has help me beyond just sailing. It has been something that I wanted to do for a long time but I never got around it because of how much I work. I was happy to invest myself for something that has nothing to do with work skills or production. It was only for passion and the desire to sail boat. It has opened new doors for me as far as how I have been traveling the world and I am eager to improve my sailing and navigation, I want to find a team or people that I can sail with on my time off. I am looking forward meeting new type of people that has nothing to do with my field of work. David and the way he share is passion is contagious. I really want to have sailing has part of my life now and not only for just a vacation every other year. 

Did you have any fun?
I did have tons of fun because everything was done in a none threatening way. We got to combine an awesome vacation with a new learned skills and share time with people we would ordinarily not cross path. I discovered the county of Sligo and Donegal as well as Irish tradition. It was an absolute blast and confidence booster. I would recommend David and WWS for anyone who wants to get hooked on a new passion or improve an existing skill. 

By |2019-12-04T16:25:45+00:00August 27th, 2019|Questionnaire|0 Comments

#sail4hospice – Round Ireland Yacht Race – Sail Log No.2

So, just looking back over how things have gone so far with the Lynx Round Ireland Race crew and the boat. Race one, we had some serious light wind,
there was just nothing on the start line, everyone was sailing on the tide really. We got quite a good start but we just couldn’t get out into the flow and get
around Howth Head to keep up with the lead boats. But once we made some gains out into the tide, and we took off, the wind picked up and we were able to
get the symmetric kite up, which is really our strength and we just started to claw our way back up the course and picked a few boats off, which was great.
And then all the way up past Lambay Island we did really, really well and coming into Rockabill (a beautiful bird sanctuary east of Skerries Co. Dublin) it was clear we’d really come up the fleet quite a lot. Rounding Rockabill, we were back on the wind, sailing into the wind that had freshened quite a lot and some of the newer boats were just pulling away from us. And no matter what we did with the sails, or how we decided to attack them, we just couldn’t get back and we were doing everything we could to just hold onto the gains we’d made.

So after that, we decided that we definitely needed to go away and have a look at how the rig was tuned, to have a look at the tension in our rig and have a look
at how that was set up. So, about two weeks later I think, we were due to do an ISAF Offshore Safety Course so a few of us turned up at the boat on the Friday,
and we just got stuck in with spanners and tools and we slackened off the rig and then tuned it as best we could. And then we did a test sail over to Dun Laoghaire and it was obvious immediately that the boat was in much better shape upwind. So we were all really pleased with that as we fine-tuned her out under sail, it was fantastic!

And then we did the ISAF Offshore Safety Course, which is a requirement for the Round Ireland Race, which is a Category 2 offshore race. So there has to be a
certain number of the crew who have first aid, offshore first aid training and then a certain percentage of the crew has to have done this Offshore Safety Course. So we went to the INSS in Dun Laoghaire and Kenny Rumball put us through our paces as regards what we knew and what we didn’t know about safety equipment and what we had on-board. It was great that he knows the boat so well, he was able to put us right on what we should be doing and we did a few life raft drills in the pool, which was interesting as well. Especially for those who hadn’t ever been in a life raft, so it’s great experience to have, you know, moving forward as the well drilled team we want to be.

And then, I suppose, the Lambay race as part of the Wave Regatta at Howth over the June bank holiday weekend. I was really excited about this because I
really felt that the crew were coming together. I’ve sailed with a lot of guys on board you know, I’ve gone around Ireland with five or six people on this boat, but some of those guys didn’t know each other and it’s great to see everyone getting on and having the craic – if you’re not having fun, it is no fun!! And it’s – we’ve got a great bunch of piss takers on-board! which is great fun and so it’s good to see everyone getting on together and I was really excited about it because, you know, we were getting our race mainsail on the boat this weekend and we had the boat tuned properly and we were going to have a go with some new downwind sails too.

And so we got out there, it was a light wind start and I guess we were a little bit off the pace at the start but once we got going, we got around the first windward mark and popped the big blue kite, we were off again. You know this boat loves sailing off the wind. It just absolutely loves it, and it feels great when you just know the boat’s powered up. So we were able to take off, and once again, going past Lambay Island, we were picking off competitors. Coming into the top marks to turn around and head back for Howth, we were picking off people all the time and on the beat, we were able to cover boats. And by covering boats, I mean we were able to stop people from trying to pass us. We were able to stay ahead of much newer, much faster boats. And some of the boats that we couldn’t even catch in the race about three weeks ago, we were able – we were all over them this time, which is testament to the crew work and testament to the way we’ve set the boat up.

So, I’m really happy with the way things are going. I really feel the team is gelling and I think we’ve got great people. Just the lads leading things at the moment: Sean Flynn, Ronan Armstrong, two Sligo guys, that are, really at the top of their game here when it comes to this kind of racing. And Karl Brady and Dave O’Neil on the bow there just showing us all how it’s done, showing off by the end of it!! And then we followed the Lambay Race with a pretty intense training day. Racing’s all well and good, short course racing is great, but really sometimes you need to take time and just go through your procedures. I find with big boats, the key to everything is just having a process and even with small boats, I hear guys in GP14’s just talking about follow the process. And so we just worked on our systems and processes, we split the boat up into 2 watches, as it will be during the Round Ireland Race. So you had a one watch of four, a one watch of five people manoeuvring big sails. In a boat like this with a small number of people, these jobs are difficult and it takes organisation. But everyone rose to the challenge and I was really impressed with how the team picked things up. And we also did a whole bunch of safety manoeuvres like man over board drills; we talked through and then executed them. Some when not everyone was aware what was going on, we decided to do some when people were quite relaxed and it was so funny to – you know people were all over it, as they say.

We went through a lot of the navigation techniques and equipment. Everybody seems to be just delighted to learn and delighted to teach what they know. I’m
really impressed with that, how switched on these boys are and how keen they all are to learn more.. It’s just such a positive environment on the boat that I’m
really looking forward to the race!!

By |2019-12-04T16:29:24+00:00June 6th, 2018|Videos, Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race 2018|0 Comments

Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race 2018

Sligo native Dave O’Connor and his crew of eight men are due to set sail around Ireland next month in aid of North West Hospice.

The team predominantly from the north west are expected to spend five and a half days on their boat called ‘Lynx’ as part of the Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race 2018 and are currently seeking a corporate sponsor. Owner of Wild West Sailing, Mr. O’Connor has spent years sailing across many seas including the Mediterranean and Caribbean.

Inspired by a group of people he took on a cruise who were raising money for charity as well as local woman Mary Forte involved with North West Hospice, he felt compelled to do something similar: “I wanted to be involved in an event that showed it’s not all about us but about the community. We will be representing all sailing clubs across the north west and every cent raised will go to the charity. We are looking for a corporate sponsor for the race and in return, their branding will be on our gear and the boat which will be parked up in Rosses Point in the sunshine, as well as racing around Ireland, not to mention our huge social media campaign and a discount for the company on all of the services we offer. We will also give this sponsor a discount for all their employees off our training & rental products for sailing and power boating.”

The Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race is a biennial event attracting competitors from right across the globe. The next leg is kicking off in Wicklow on 30th June. Preparations are well underway for the team before their none stop race. They are currently training around ten hours a week in advance of their departure. “So much work has gone into this up until now with a lot of it being theory, safety courses, finance and sorting out the boat so to be at stage where we are sailing together is just amazing.

There is the whole competitive aspect to sailing and the comraderie among the lads but individually, there is great healing in sailing. It’s a bit like the Camino.” said Mr. O’Connor. The sailing instructor wanted to use his passion for sailing to raise awareness of the great work done by North West Hospice that many people can connect with and want to support: “By doing something in memory of people, it can help people to move on and by contributing to a worthy cause, you are showing solidarity with people. You are also acknowledging the fact they we are all touched by death at some stage.” The team are hoping to raise €10,000 for the local charity through corporate sponsorship as well as donations from the public. Contributions can be made through the team’s official GoFundMe Page under north-west-hospice-round-Ireland or #sail4hospice.

Anyone wishing to follow the team’s preparations for the race can follow them on Facebook @wildwestsailing

Go Fund Me Page: https://ie.gofundme.com/north-west-hospice-round-ireland

By |2019-05-27T18:56:52+00:00June 4th, 2018|Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race 2018|0 Comments
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